Posts Tagged ‘ticks’

Get outdoors but know how to protect yourself

Friday, June 9th, 2017

Family walking outdoorsTomorrow is National Get Outdoors Day. Now that the weather has warmed up, getting outside is a welcomed change in most parts of the country.

But getting outdoors has its own set of challenges – from bug bites to sunburn. Here’s a quick rundown on how to stay safe when heading outdoors, especially if you’re pregnant.

Bugs that bite and spread diseases

Ticks – In many areas of the country, especially wooded areas or places with high grass, Lyme disease is spread by ticks. Untreated Lyme disease can have cause complications during pregnancy.

Mosquitos – If you’re traveling, be sure to check the CDC’s map to see if the Zika virus is active in the area where you are heading. The Zika virus spreads through mosquito bites and through body fluids like blood or semen. If you’re pregnant, or thinking of becoming pregnant, don’t visit a Zika-affected area. Zika virus during pregnancy can cause serious birth defects.

What should you do?

Use an insect repellant (a product that keeps insects from biting you), like bug spray or lotion, that’s registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (also called EPA). All EPA-registered bug sprays and lotions are checked to make sure they’re safe and work well.

Make sure the product contains one or more of these substances that are safe to use during pregnancy and breastfeeding: DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, IR3535 and 2-undecanone. If the product contains DEET, make sure it has at least 20 percent (20%) DEET.

Don’t put bug spray or lotion on your skin under clothes. If you use sunscreen, put it on before the spray or lotion.

If you have children: Most bug sprays and lotions are safe to use on babies 2 months and older, but don’t use products that contain oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol on children younger than 3 years. Don’t put the spray or lotion on your baby’s hands or near her eyes or mouth. Don’t put the spray or lotion on cut, sore or sensitive skin.

Protect yourself from the sun

Nothing will stop your outdoor fun faster than a nasty sunburn. Sunscreen is important whenever you are outside, especially if you are pregnant. During pregnancy your skin is more sensitive to sunlight than it was before pregnancy. The sun gives off ultraviolet radiation (UV) which can increase the risk of skin cancer, give you a bad burn and increase signs of aging.

What can you do?

Before heading outside, lather up with a sunscreen that has a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. Use only products that have UVA and UVB or Broad Spectrum protection products. Apply sunscreen at least 15 minutes before heading outdoors and reapply every 2 hours.

If you’re sensitive to sunscreens, try one with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as they are not as irritating to the skin. You can also cover up by wearing long sleeves and pants, and a wide brimmed hat.

Don’t use products that combine bug repellant with sunscreen. It’s important to reapply sunblock every two hours. If you use a combination product, you’ll be reapplying the bug repellant chemicals as well – not good. Too much bug repellant can be toxic. So, to be on the safe side, keep these products separate, or use the combination product once, and then apply sunblock only every two hours afterward.

Don’t choose a product with retinyl palmitate, especially if you are pregnant. This type of vitamin A has been linked to an increased risk of skin cancer and is associated with birth defects.

Check the expiration date and don’t use it if it is expired. If your sunscreen does not have a date, write one on your bottle after purchasing. Sunscreens retain their original strength for three years.

Here are tips for keeping your baby safe while outdoors.

With a little planning and care, you can get outdoors and enjoy yourself tomorrow. Enjoy!

 

Keep on the lookout for ticks

Friday, August 23rd, 2013

tickAs small as they are, ticks can pack a punch with some powerful diseases. Summer is going strong and with the warm weather comes the proliferation of bugs, gnats, mosquitoes and ticks.

You’ve heard of Lyme disease and, perhaps, of erlichiosis. Did you know that there are many other tick-borne illnesses? These little bugs can seriously harm your health.

Powasson (POW) is the latest tick-borne concern. Long-term neurologic problems may occur. There is no specific treatment, but people with severe POW virus illnesses often need to be hospitalized to receive respiratory support, intravenous fluids, or medications to reduce swelling in the brain. In rare cases, it may be fatal.

For many of the tick-borne illnesses, symptoms vary. Many people feel fine, some people develop flu-like symptoms, such as fever, chills, sweats, headache, body aches, loss of appetite, nausea, or fatigue. There is not always a distinct bulls-eye rash like in most cases of Lyme disease. If you have been bitten by a tick or come down with flu-like symptoms, be sure to let your health care provider know right away. According to the CDC, “Untreated Lyme disease during pregnancy may lead to infection of the placenta and possible stillbirth. Thankfully, no serious effects on the fetus have been found in cases where the mother receives appropriate antibiotic treatment for her Lyme disease. In general, treatment for pregnant women with Lyme disease is similar to that of non-pregnant adults, although certain antibiotics, such as doxycycline, are not used because they can affect fetal development.”

The good news is there’s no need to lock your family indoors until it snows again. There are steps you can take, products you can use to help protect you and your kids while romping in the yard.

Cover up with socks and shoes and long pants. The insect repellant DEET (diethyltoluamide) is among the most effective at keeping insects, such as mosquitoes and ticks, from biting. Preventing insect bites is important during pregnancy because mosquito- and tick-borne infections, such as West Nile virus and Lyme disease, erlichiosis and babesiosis may be harmful in pregnancy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not recommend any special precautions for pregnant women using DEET-containing products, when used as directed on the product label. A pregnant woman can minimize her need for DEET by staying indoors during dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most likely to bite.

Remember, ticks are tiny, so check yourself and your children carefully when you come indoors. If you’re thinking of using pesticides around your property, be sure to read our information, including safety precautions.

Tick season’s around the corner

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

tickWith the return of warm weather comes the proliferation of bugs, gnats, mosquitoes and ticks. Regardless of how you feel about these little pests, it’s important to remember that, as small as they are, they can pack a punch with some powerful diseases.

You’ve heard of Lyme disease and, perhaps, of erlichiosis. Did you know that there is another tick-borne illness called babesiosis?  People who have had their spleen removed are particularly susceptible to a severe case. Aside from a tick bite, babesiosis can be transmitted through a blood transfusion and an infected mother can pass the disease to her baby during pregnancy or delivery. It can be a very serious illness to people with compromised immune systems.

As with other tick-borne illnesses, symptoms vary. Many people feel fine, some people develop flu-like symptoms, such as fever, chills, sweats, headache, body aches, loss of appetite, nausea, or fatigue. There is no distinct bulls-eye rash like in Lyme disease. If you come down with flu-like symptoms, be sure to let your health care provider know.

Don’t panic – there’s no need to lock yourself indoors until it snows again. But there are steps you can take, products you can use to help protect you and your kids while romping in the yard. Pregnant women may be concerned about the safety of insect repellants during pregnancy. The insect repellant DEET (diethyltoluamide) is among the most effective at keeping insects, such as mosquitoes and ticks, from biting. Preventing insect bites is important during pregnancy because mosquito- and tick-borne infections, such as West Nile virus and Lyme disease, erlichiosis and babesiosis may be harmful in pregnancy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not recommend any special precautions for pregnant women using DEET-containing products, when used as directed on the product label. You can minimize your need for DEET by staying indoors during dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most likely to bite. You also can wear long pants and long sleeves. Remember, ticks are tiny, so check yourself and your children carefullly when you come indoors.

If you’re thinking of using pesticides around your property, be sure to read our information, including safety precautions.